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SCAT for chamber ensemble was has been awarded the BMI Student Composer Award. Michael is one of ten young composers to receive cash prizes totaling $20,000 during the 61st Annual BMI Student Composer Awards, an invitation-only event held in the Grand Salon of the JW Marriott Essex House Hotel in New York City on Monday, May 20, 2013. His work SCAT for chamber ensemble was the winner work.

As per the guidelines on the BMI website, the prizes, which range from $500 to $5,000, are “awarded to student composers under the age of 28 who are citizens of the Western Hemisphere (North, South, and Central America, the Caribbean Island Nations, and the Hawaiian Islands).” Awards are determined by panels consisting of BMI composers and are judged from scores which are submitted under pseudonyms. There are no limitations as to instrumentation, style, or length of work submitted, and the 2013 award winning works range from a string quartet and a composition for piano four-hands to music for SATB chorus, orchestra, and wind ensemble plus fixed media.

Composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, who serves as chair of the Student Composer Awards, announced each of the winners after introductory speeches by BMI’s President and CEO Del Bryant and Deirdre Chadwick, BMI’s executive director for classical music. During the course of her remarks, Chadwick announced that BMI has established the Ralph N. Jackson Fund for New Music, in honor of retired BMI Foundation President Ralph Jackson, who served for many years as director of these awards.

The BMI Student Composer Awards competition is co-sponsored by BMI and the BMI Foundation, Inc. The preliminary judges for the 2013 BMI Student Composer Awards were Alexandra du Bois, Shafer Mahoney, David Schober, and Sean Shepherd. The final jury, which determines the award winners from the scores submitted for consideration by the preliminary judges, were Margaret Brouwer, Richard Danielpour, Mario Davidovsky, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez with Ellen Taaffe Zwilich overseeing the proceedings.

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